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From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2011 4:33 AM
Subject: Tracing Lofty Page.


Having looked through the list of names of the OBA many times, the name ‘Lofty Page’ seemed to ring a bell but I couldn’t quite recall how I knew it.  I assumed that it was someone with whom I worked alongside in the Essex Police Force in which I served from 1958 until 1998.

I e-mailed this ex-mover two or three years ago just in case I had met him when I was in the RAF but I got no response.

Imagine my surprise when, looking through my notes I kept from my days on Christmas Island, I found this entry:

A Handley Page Hastings (TG 582) flying over London, Christmas Island (now Kiritimati)
Friday 18th January 1957. The ETA (Hastings Shuttle returning from Hickham AFB Honolulu) made a rough landing. 

On board was our AMO Flt Lt Don Hepton returning from visiting our detachment there along with LAC Hall (a new arrival and the first Air Movements Clerk to join me on Christmas Island) and one “Lofty Page”.

Could this be the “Lofty Page” ex Mover as shown as a member of the OBA? I have e-mailed him again, but again have had no response. I see that he does not show up on Google Earth!

From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2011 5:49 AM
To: Alex Masson, Chelmsford, UK
Cc: Ian Berry, West Swindon, UK
Subject: RE: Tracing Lofty Page.

Hi Alex,

That might well have been the same Lofty Page who was on Christmas Island with you, as I note he served on Movements from 1951 - 72 - I see the listing in the member’s page, but I don’t have a card for him in the database or mailing list which would explain why he doesn’t show up on Google Earth.

It’s possible that he might have departed, and the name left in the member’s pages erroneously, but of that I’m not certain.

I’m copying this e-mail to Ian Berry, the Guru’s Guru for all things movements related, if anyone knows the answer it’s him.

Is there anyone out there who knows this guy and knows if he is still about?  I’d like to know!

From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2011 6:10 AM
Subject: Found!


In haste! … I have tracked down Richard “Lofty” Page! … alive and well! 81 years of age, still living in Troon, near Camborne, Cornwall.  I had a good chat with him.

He remembers me only vaguely but clearly remembers the rough landing made by the Hastings as it touched down on Christmas on the 18th January 1957.  Still keeps in touch with the Aircrew Association but seems to have lost contact with the Movers!  I’m sure he’d like to hear from you Tony.

His current E-mail is  and would like to hear from Mike Williamson, Phil Pratley, Jim Aitken and anyone else who remembers him. Yes Jim, he was tall, 6ft 6ins in his prime.

He served 22 years in the RAF as a Mover, then as an AQM. after that worked for the MOD (Ministry of Defence Police) at Shoeburyness in Essex.


From: James Aitken, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2011 5:19 PM
To: Dick "Lofty" Page, Troon, UK
Cc: Alex Masson, Chelmsford, UK
Subject: Two.....Six !!

G'day Dick

Thanks to Alex Masson we are in touch again.

With the passage of time, I can't recall why we lost contact. I know we did correspond reasonably regularly for a while there.

Do you remember you sent me a program called "Dragon Naturally Speaking"....a voice recognition proggie that you were playing with. To save typing I think was the idea. I did try it but it kept stuffing up and anyway I type faster, these days, than I talk !!! Was Dragon a pirated copy? I know back then when I first got into computers I would be game for any programs that didn't cost money.

So you are living in Troon near Camborne. Were you there last time we were in touch? I lived in Cornwall for a time after the RAF. My folks retired to Portreath and as I hadn't had much contact with them during my RAF service, we elected to purchase a Milk Delivery business down there. We lived in Redruth (pronounced Re....druth and not Red....ruth!) until we had enough of the miserable winter weather in Cornwall!! Great in the summer!

Been in Oz now for 40 years.....longer than the time in UK ! Love the place to bits. Last time back in UK was 2004 but as all family on both our sides are passed on, we won't be visiting again.

Can't recall if I had my website active when we last spoke but in any case I will give you a link to it. Although it set out to be an "Air Movements" site it has sort of morphed into a more "personal" site. Mainly due to the fact that all my AM experiences are there already and there is nothing more to add!! Anyway it will give you some idea of what we have been up to for the past few years.

We still remember our time at Clyffe Pypard with pleasure.......rough as it was. Sneaking out under cover of darkness and raiding the RAF coal pile to keep our hut warm!! Watching out for Chiefy Bethel on the prowl. And whenever we have large field mushrooms these days....always provokes the memory of Lofty coming back from the old grass runways with a box full of fresh picked ! Walking the hedgerows around the camp and picking hazelnuts. Yum!  The weekly families' grocery run to Wootton Bassett in the back of a 4 ton truck!!

Great talking with you again mate. I will copy this to Alex as he was so "sleuthful" in tracking you down, only to be expected from one of Robert Peel's finest !

Look forward to hearing from you.

Jim Aitken

From: James Durkin, Stafford 
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2011 2:43 PM
Subject: MovOps (RAF) Picture

Hello Tony
I wonder if the Air Commodore with the Cornish accent is Gerry R Pengelly who was with me (then a Sgt) at Khormaksar 1956/57?

He  was then Plt Off . I only say that because I cannot recognize him from the photograph but I know he became a Mover, he took over my desk on the Movements Course at Kidbrooke  and he certainly had a strong Cornish accent and did he not become top man in Supply and Movements? He had a habit of coming to work  with scarred knees, etc. after an afternoon's rugby which was played on pretty hard pitches.
If I remember right he was my boss during the  first general strike  ever experienced in Aden where on one day the local press reported that for the first time in 50 years there was nil shipping arrival and departures. 

During that period most of us  Equippers  took on more than one job. At one time I was supposed to run the Barrack Store plus  A  Group a.m., work on  visiting ships when they managed to arrive via the Cape as the Suez Canal was closed  (afternoons)  and cover the reactivated wartime fuel installations part time overnight! 
D Mov (RAF) 1975
Steamer Point with the volcanic rim of Crater in the background
Thanks Jimmie - Pengelly is certainly a real west-country name, but I believe the Gerry that you are referring to is pictured at right.  I happened across him on the member's page of the Movements Controllers Website.  Regret there was no e-mail address shown for him.
Luckily it did not last too long for me, despite my repat being delayed for a couple of months.  The C-in-C used his right (I understand) to grade selected personnel as  essential staff  and retain them over their normal tour for a further six months.  I had already done my time in the Canal Zone so did not have to do the full six months extra, coming back to the UK in February  '57.
Well I only wanted to try for a name and look what s happened - the name generates memories - not all nice but we were blessed with a good all-round working team which helped a great deal.

And thanks again for all your work on our behalf.

See you


Brize Norton becomes the new home for the RAF Hercules Force

As of this month RAF Lyneham's Hercules fleet has a new base at RAF Brize Norton which is becoming critically important as an RAF logistics support hub including the air bridge with the Falkland Islands.

RAF Lyneham's Station Commander, Group Captain John Gladston, flew the first aircraft to land at Brize Norton.  “This is our last opportunity to say thank you and pay tribute to the people of Wiltshire for all the support they have given to the station over the past 70 years. It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to the Hercules Force, a sentiment which I know echoes throughout the Wiltshire community”, said
Group Captain Gladston.

”The Hercules Force will now take a piece of our unique and proud history to RAF Brize Norton where I know they will be most welcome and I am in no doubt that it will flourish and continue to build on our proud heritage for many years to come.“
They were joined by the standard for 10 Squadron, whose formal reformation parade is planned for next year as it becomes the first RAF squadron to fly the new Voyager aircraft, due into service at the end of 2011.

Formally welcoming the Hercules fleet were Air Officer Commanding No 2 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Philip Osborn, and RAF Brize Norton's Station Commander, Group Captain Dom Stamp. ”It is an absolute privilege to formally accept command of the Hercules fleet from Group Captain Gladston.
Having the Hercules fleet and personnel here under one roof' will endorse RAF Brize Norton as the hub of air transport and air-to-air refuelling and will enable us to provide a more efficient and adaptable response to whatever challenges we face in the future“ said Group Captain Stamp.
Air Vice-Marshal Osborn gave a speech to all the assembled personnel, highlighting the significance of the day's events: ”Today is a truly momentous day, one which marks both the final twilight of four decades of Hercules service from Lyneham and the exciting beginning of the next chapter in the proud C-130 story.

“I have no doubt that the indomitable spirit of the Hercules Force will continue in its new home, as it complements the strategic airlift and air-to-air refuelling capabilities that have characterised Brize for so long. 

”Indeed, not for generations has Defence been so dependent on the capabilities now resident at Brize Norton - from the criticality of the TriStar and C-17 to the Afghanistan airbridge, through to the utterly indispensable daily contribution of VC10, C-17 and Hercules to operations over Libya.
“I also want to welcome the first echelons of 10 Squadron and our Voyager capability.  ”This aircraft, based on the Airbus A330 and due in service towards the end of the year, will signal the start of a step change in capability, as we commence the transition from our venerable yet aging aircraft to a new generation of aircraft and support services.

”Therefore, it my absolute pleasure to mark today the reforming of 10 Squadron, one of our most prestigious squadrons; its proud and long history matching perfectly with the promise of Voyager and the new Brize Norton” .

ITN & Defence News
On board the aircraft were the Hercules standards from 24, 30, 47 and 47 Air Despatch Squadrons, which were paraded along with the Brize Norton standards of 99, 101 and 216 Squadrons. 
From: Basil Hughes, Pattaya 
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2011 5:28 PM
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #070111

Tony -- 0415 am - I should be in bed, instead I am reading the latest newsletter.
The news from David Stevens brought back memories for me and I agree with his remarks about Flt Lt Spiers - he was great.  But I also  have great memories of Mitch Mitchell. Another name he might remember was Dan Archer but I am trying to remember the name of the one Fg Off, I think it was Rogers.

For me my time in MAMS was a very happy time with some great mates.  Who was it that got bitten by a dog on a beach in the West Indies?
Gordon Spiers


Memorial to Canada's Air Force Unveiled in United Kingdom

It was dedicated "In honour of those who serve past and present in Canadian and Commonwealth Air Elements".

"Canada's airmen and airwomen have made a significant contribution to the defence of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and to the mutual defence of all of our allies through our continued participation in NATO," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "I am enthusiastic that the service and sacrifice of Canadian air personnel is being recognized beyond Canadian borders."
A monument commemorating the men and women of Canada's Air Force, past and present, was unveiled in the United Kingdom at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, 8 July, 2011.

The monument is the first in the U.K. raised specifically to honour the Royal Canadian Air Force, especially its service during the Second World War, and Canada's modern Air Force.
Members of the Royal Air Force and Canada's Air Force, serving in both the U.K. and in Canada, led this historic project from concept to unveiling after Flight Lieutenant Alfie Hall, from 609 West Riding Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, visited the National Memorial Arboretum.

"A total of 21 Canadians served with 609," said Flight Lieut. Hall. "When I was down at Staffordshire, I asked where the Canadian memorial was and they said there wasn't one, which I thought was wrong. We developed a project team which came up with the design of a memorial and we've been fundraising ever since ."

The memorial is made of Canadian granite from a quarry near Sturgeon Falls, Ont., donated by Lafarge Canada.

426 Transport Training Squadron, from 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., flew the granite to the U.K. on a CC-130 Hercules during a training flight.

A monolith, created out of red and white granite to represent the Canadian flag, is the centrepiece of the monument. It is topped by a maple leaf and stands upon a granite maple leaf with a matching granite ring surrounding it; from above this will show Canada's modern Air Force roundel. The words of the iconic Air Force poem "High Flight ", written by RCAF pilot Flight Lieut. John Gillespie Magee, Jr., are also inscribed on the monument.

"This is an extraordinary initiative," said Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Canada's Chief of the Air Staff. "On behalf of Canadian airmen and airwomen, past and present, I thank the organizers who led the creation of this historic memorial as well as those people who donated to ensure it would become a reality. & British Forces News
From: Aaron Reynolds, Glenbrook, NSW 
Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2011 7:08 PM
Subject: RAAF Mystery Photo plus a Bonus Story!

Morning Tony,
Here's the (unrelated) bonus story:

11 Jul '97 - Cambodian Coup Prompted Airlift

After a coup in Cambodia created a volatile and uncertain security situation, C-130 Hercules transports from No 36 Squadron mounted a one-day airlift of Australians and other foreign nationals from the capital, Phnom Penh.

During 6–10 July, six aircraft had been pre-positioned at Butterworth air base, Malaysia, in case they were needed. On this day, four of the Hercules carried out Operation Vista.   
Over the course of the day, six flights were made into the heavily-damaged Pochentong Airport and a total of 455 people (278 of them Australians) were evacuated to Penang, Malaysia.

The airlift was without incident, apart from the discovery in Malaysia of nine young Cambodian stowaways who managed to board the first flight out of Phnom Penh; this group was put on a RAAF flight back to Cambodia. Another 12 Cambodians had to be turned away after they were detected among evacuees queuing for a later flight. 
When this happened, it was the first time the three teams from Mobile Air Terminal Unit (MATU) had deployed on operations as one unit.

Only five team members from MATU 1 deployed to Cambodia;  FLTLT Kirrily Dearing, SGT Bruce Donnelly, CPL Peter (Kenno) Kennedy, CPL Dave (Felcher) Neylan and myself, LAC Aaron (A-hole) Reynolds. The other teams were located in Malaysia for reception and standby.

Funniest thing was the fact that we were sitting in the crew room after a hard session of PT when this was first reported on the TV. It was stated that Australia was sending C-130's and a specialist loading team. Needless to say the boss disappeared to HQ to find out more... Five minutes later the phone rang, "You've got 20 minutes to get your gear!"

I miss those heady days of short notice ops! 
-  Oh, that's me under the red arrow... :o)


The RAAF Mystery Photo #070111 is MATU1 in Somalia 1993.

From the left: CPL Nev Harris, LAC Greg White, SGT Bruce Donnelly, CPL Paul LeMarshall, FLTLT John Fox, Some JMCO mover, LAC Pete MacIntosh, LAC Mark Renfrey.
From: Andy Brookes, Stoke-on-Trent
Sent: Saturday, July 02, 2011 5:53 AM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 070111

Hi Tony
From left to right

Back: Not known, Mike Stephenson (JATE projects), me (Andy Brookes) Keith Dowty (JATE air despatch) Taff Kelly, John Belcher (Belize Movs), George Lynes (Belize Movs) and Jane Finding (now Higgins - JATE) .

Front: Kev? JATE Photographer, Mike Hardwich JATE, Not known.

Andy Brookes
This was taken at Belize probably 1989 or could be 1990. It was a JATE team taking a RIB to Peurto Rico for trials (I think) then onto Belize to recover a Lox tank (again I think, memory a bit jaded)
From: SKA International Group, Mogadishu 
Sent: Monday, July 04, 2011 8:11 AM
Subject: Mogadishu Cargo


As the new Airport Manager in MGQ, I am looking for a ex-Cpl/Sgt (but open to offers) with the following:

MUST be DGR current and familiar with Imports/Exports

Ideally certified for MDL (we have a Commander 30 and 15)

Ideally experienced from the school in training and whatever training slides/notes you kept for ramp/GSE/DGR/ MMARS

SITA messaging familiar (TTY, LDM, PSM, PTM, MVT)

Pax services familiar (use of DCS maybe)
Basically, the job is a bit of a traditional MAMS, good at everything, role.

8 weeks on 2 off, all food / accom and flights to UK included via NBO or DXB.

Accom is in our own camp, single accom in a 20  ISO. Full sat TV (incl Premiership footy), Internet, Aircon, Fridge, Microwave, en-suite loo and shower. Salary TBD, but around 3,500 quid a month tax free, incl all leave paid.
The camp we are building is brand new and inside the airport grounds. The Indian Ocean is the just other side of the runway, and makes for a great swim after work. The temp is between 25ºC and 34ºC, a little humid but a good offshore breeze. Spear fishing is a must.

The only pirates here are the ones selling beer at $3 a can, but when we open our own bar this will be fixed as well.

CV and covering letter to:

Mr Mark Reeves
HR Manager
SKA International Group
Dubai, UAE
OK, to dispell the  Blackhawk Down Syndrome  fears....   The airport is on a large area protected by AMISOM Troops. What they lack in capability is more than made up for in numbers and bravery.

We have had 2 small mortar rounds in the airport boundary in the last 5 months, and are now out of range for stray rounds from the fighting in the town.
After 37 years of operational service the Royal Air Force Nimrod R1 was retired last month. The Nimrod R1's last operations were Herrick over Afghanistan and Ellamy in Libya in support of NATO forces. 

Following the retirement of the Nimrod MR2 fleet last year, which was involved in the Falklands 1982 conflict, the final two Nimrods, in service with 51 Squadron, bowed out to a 700-strong audience of serving and retired RAF personnel at a ceremony held at RAF Waddington.
The ceremony saw parades by two flights of Nimrod R Force elements, including personnel from 51 Squadron, 54(R) Squadron, 56(R) Squadron, Electronic Reconnaissance Operations Support Squadron and the Electronic Warfare and Avionics Detachment. They were accompanied by the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment.

Flying for the last time, Nimrod R1 Number XV249, flown by Flight Lieutenant Mike Chatterton, made two spectacular flypasts directly over the parade, the second concluding with a roaring climb before disappearing into the clouds.

Reflecting on flying the Nimrod for the last time he said “ It's a great honour to fly the Nimrod R1 today. When you're flying you're too busy to take stock of how significant a day this is. Only after I had landed did it really hit home.”

The Nimrod R1 flew over Afghanistan in support of Operation Herrick for ten years, making it one of 51 Squadron's longest operational commitments. Due for retirement at the end March 2011, the Nimrod R1 was given a three-month reprieve to enable participation in Operation Ellamy, supporting the NATO mission over Libya.
The replacement for the Nimrod R1 will be the Rivet Joint aircraft, due into service with the RAF in 2014. For now, RAF crews from 51 Squadron are already co-manning US Rivet Joint aircraft in missions over Libya and Afghanistan, continuing their support to operations.

Originally designed as a Royal Air Force maritime patrol aircraft, the Nimrod MR1/MR2 major role was anti-submarine warfare although it also had secondary roles in maritime surveillance and anti-surface warfare . In addition to the three Maritime Reconnaissance variants, two further Nimrod types were developed.
The RAF also used the Nimrod 1 variant in an electronic intelligence gathering role, while the Nimrod AEW3 was intended as a dedicated airborne early warning platform in the early to mid 1980s , but was ultimately replaced by the Boeing E-3 Sentry. South Atlantic News Agency

Bye-Bye Birdie

Leading the thanks and tributes to 51 Squadron and the R1 supporting elements was the Chief of the Air Staff , Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. “Today is a day of celebration,” he said. “There is no question this aircraft has given us the ability to do things that would be very much more difficult, and could have cost us more, if we hadn t had it.”
From: Rick Newton, Trenton, ON
Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2011 9:20 AM
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo 070111

This is such an unflattering picture, I thought it was just too good not to share

The person is MWO Lou Papillon and it was taken in Oct '74 at Port Said, Egypt



Enhanced C-130 Loadmaster Training with HOT Simulator

Originally developed by Defence Research and Development Canada, the approximately $1 million HOT system will provide 37SQN C-130 loadmasters based at RAAF Richmond with a simulated view of the aircraft’s paradoor window of the rear cargo compartment, providing valuable experience to trainee loadmasters in threat identification.
Current C-130 aircrew training provider CAE Australia will provide instructors for the HOT system, which will be used to train loadmasters prior to deployment to the Middle East under Operation Slipper in Afghanistan.

Australian Aviation Magazine
A new type of C-130 Hercules simulator is set to give aircraft loadmasters exposure to realistic combat environments, with the RAAF’s introduction of the Hercules Observer Trainer (HOT) on June 29.

From: Shawn Larson, Edmonton, AB
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 10:00 AM
Subject: Western Regional Traffic Tech Gathering
Well it’s that time of the year again. We’re starting to gear up for our annual party and we want to make sure everyone gets an invitation.

Contrary to years past, the Golf Tournament will be held at the Hunters Green Golf Club at 10845 - 195 Avenue in Edmonton.

The Meet & Greet will be held at the Irish Sports & Social Club, 12546 - 126 Street, Edmonton.

Post golf dinner is going to be held at the Golf Club following the game.

Breakfast is not included but can be purchased at the Golf Club in the morning. Last year’s gathering turned out to be a great success and we’re hoping this year’s event will be even better. Mark on your calendar, the Labour Day weekend (3-4 Sep) destination - Edmonton, and be prepared to party.

Our group has the tendency to show up on Friday night without notice and sign up for the golf. In the past, this has worked out because the LPGC is pretty lenient in their rules. This new club however, doesn’t have the same tolerance. Because of this, all bookings for golf have to be in no later than August 13th.

You can book your carts by calling the club at 780-973-6686. If there are any questions, please feel free to give either of us a call, and we’ll be happy to help you out.

Wayne O'Toole
(780) 457-1710

Shawn Larson
H (780) 484-9607
W (789) 453-3669 Ext 226
From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury 
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 5:27 PM
Subject: NSRAFA

Hi Tony
Sunday the 3rd was the big day at RAF Cosford; our annual parade of us 'old uns'. Wasn't quite the large turnout we've had on previous years but of course we are getting older and thinning out.  It was stinking hot, 80 plus degrees Fahrenheit (I'm not into centigrade) and a number were stumbling around, even the young ATC cadets that we had on parade with us.

The reviewing officer taking the salute was AVM Mike Lloyd along with an MP and the Cosford CO Group Captain Jamie Johnston.
I suppose there were about three hundred on parade and almost as many family and friends watching. On the programme we were supposed to have two Spitfires from the BBMF flyover but they didn't turn up and no reason was given; this is the third year on the trot that they've let us down!

Afterwards it was the unveiling of the National Service Exhibit in the Cold War Museum.
Today was our usual monthly meeting of the Cosford Branch. Our speaker was Squadron Leader Neil Hope, Public Relations Officer at RAF Shawbury.  This was his third visit to us and his talk was on the charity 'Taking Football to Africa and Beyond' which he started in 2006 and has grown larger and larger over the years since.

The charity gathers together football shirts and kit which they send to the deprived kids in Africa, South America and Asia. He had a collection of slides showing us all the kids in their shirts donated by Manchester United, Aston Villa, Liverpool and even Shrewsbury Football Clubs.
One of their main problems has been getting the gear to their destinations as it is so expensive by normal means.

They've had help with this from the Army Air Corps and now there are always boxes of kit waiting at RAF Brize Norton for any available space on aircraft going to Iraq and Afghanistan.

One person who has helped them a lot is Mark Robson, the son of Sir Bobby Robson, and a lot of the photos we saw were the kids playing football in Newcastle Shirts.
They've been to Afghanistan and he showed us photos of the orphan's homes; five hundred kids in one of them. One thing that he said concerned them was if when we pull out and the Taliban take over again all the good that has been done will go because the Taliban will take the country back into the dark ages.

Hope that the foregoing was of interest.



Kenya has been one of their main destinations.  The two slum towns of Kibera & Mathare is where they have visited and the Shawbury lads have played matches against the youngsters there. To see just how grim it is there just do a Google search on those two places and see for yourself.

Lyneham to Remain as Military Base

The former RAF Lyneham base is to remain under military occupation it has been announced. 

The move is part of a a £1.5 bn investment in UK reserve forces over the next 10 years as part of a wide-ranging shake-up of the UK's military.
Dr Fox told MPs that the Territorial Army would form around 30 per cent of a 120,000-strong Army by 2020.

In a statement to MPs Dr Fox announced major changes in the basing of forces, with RAF installations set to be taken over by Army units returning from Germany.

Speaking after the announcement, North Wiltshire MP James Gray said: "We fought long and hard to keep the RAF at Lyneham, but sadly failed, so I was delighted by the Secretary of State's announcement today that the base will instead be used by the defence technical training establishment.

"This will mean that at least 1,500 Service personnel will be moving into Lyneham in the near future to replace the departing RAF which is good news for everyone in the area".

Dr Fox told MPs £400m would be spent this Parliament on boosting the reserve forces, with the possibility of new legislation to ‘ensure that the reserves are more readily usable on operations’.

He said the growth in the Territorial Army's strength would allow a ‘progressive adjustment’ in the balance with regular troops.

"The overall package I have announced today is good news for our armed forces and means they can look forward to the future with renewed confidence because the defence programme I have announced is underpinned with real resources,” he said.
Swindon Advertiser
Defence Secretary Liam Fox told parliament this afternoon that defence technical training programme will move to the former RAF base ‘guaranteeing its future’.

The Doll is Lost -
Rob's Amazing Escape

OBA member Rob Davies had an amazing escape when the World War II Mustang he was piloting collided in mid-air with another aircraft.

Thousands of people at the Flying Legends display show at Duxford on Sunday (July 10) looked on in horror as Rob's  P-51D Mustang was clipped by a Douglas A-1 Skyraider.
Rob's plane 'Big Beautiful Doll' which appeared in the movie 'Saving Private Ryan'  plummeted to the ground, forcing him to escape by jumping from the aircraft and deploying his emergency parachute. The Douglas A-1 Skyraider landed safely with damage to its wing.
Rob, from Woodchurch, who joined the RAF in 1962 as a 15-year-old Boy Entrant, said: "We were displaying at the Imperial War Musuem at Duxford and we were on the run-in to break for landing when the number two in my element made an error of judgement and instead of going out he pulled in tight and lost sight of me and basically chucked me out of the sky.

"There was this huge bang and I flipped sideways but I managed to draw it level and prepared for bailing out.

"I aimed it at the open farmland but I had no pitch control, meaning I couldn't make it go up and down.

"When it went down it just exploded into little bits."

Rob, who is Vice-President of Meggitt Defence Systems, had only just sold the plane two months ago to a German museum who asked him to continue flying it.

The incident will be investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Branch.
kentonline / Anglia TV / David Taylor
From: Peter Clayton, Wroughton
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2011 3:14 PM
Subject: Lyneham Future

Hi Tony

I am sure you will have heard the news that RAF Lyneham is to become an Army Technical College, possibly by around 2013.

Saw a lone C-130 in the air last week, already seems a strange sight, possibly going on auto to Lyneham!

Did my usual 100 miles on the bike at the weekend, it was very wet & windy, not ideal but still managed to do the miles, almost dried out now though!

Keep up the good work.


PS Added a couple of pics from the Kemble airshow to stir the memory!

Threatened RAF Marham Tornado base to stay open -
Leuchars will close

The Tornado base at RAF Marham in Norfolk threatened with closure under the government's defence review will stay open, it has been announced. The government had been looking at either closing the Tornado bases of RAF Lossiemouth in Moray or RAF Marham in Norfolk.
But RAF Leuchars will close and become an army base, with its Typhoons leaving for Lossiemouth in 2013 and the army starting to move in later.

Concern over RAF Marham's future prompted a major campaign to save the base by councils, MPs and business leaders in Norfolk.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, a campaigner to save RAF Marham, said: "I am absolutely delighted.

"The campaign was not just based on a simple fondness for the RAF, it was founded on sound economic and strategic principles and I believe that resulted in the decisive decision to make it Marham."
In the House of Commons, Defence Secretary Liam Fox praised the work of Ms Truss in the fight to save RAF Marham.

Broadland MP Keith Simpson said: "This is excellent news for the RAF and defence of the country and a relief for people of Marham and Norfolk."
Tornado operations were to be relocated to the base remaining open. But the government has decided to keep both operational.
New members joining us recently are:
David Neilson, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Michael "Obie" O'Brian, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Welcome to the OBA!
Name: Peter Wraight, New York, NY 
Date: 7/13/2011, 7:03 pm, EDT
Subject: Guestbook Entry

Er, no, sorry, the only difference between a Vasity and Valetta WAS NOT simply the tricycle undercarriage as stated in your profile. They are quite different designs. The Varsity had longer span, redesigned wings, a bigger fuselage and different engines and nacelles.

No response required, I'm a civvy Brit living in New York and not an 'Old Boy' of your association.  A simple perusal of specs and comparison of drawings will confirm.

I hope you'll research the differences and correct the website.



From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 9:24 PM
To: Peter Wraight, New York, NY, USA
Subject: Valetta -vs- Varsity

Hi Peter,

Thanks so very much for your interest in the website and in particular the apparent incorrect information in the profile of the Vickers Valetta

Let's then compare the drawings and specifications:
Vickers Valetta
Powerplants: 2 × Bristol Hercules 230
Length: 67'5"'
Height: 19'7"
Wingspan: 89'3"
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 36,500 Lbs.

Vickers Varsity
Powerplants: 2 x Bristol Hercules 264
Length 62'11"
Height: 23'9"
Wingspan: 95'7"
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 37,500 Lbs.
'Twould seem that you're right in your observations Peter, but from an aircraft loader's viewpoint (that would be us) I honestly don't think they were too dissimilar.

Kindly bear in mind that the information contained in the aircraft profiles for the post World War II older types was obtained from 3rd party sources and definitely not first –hand knowledge and by no means should be taken as a technical reference. 

Also worthy of noting is that I'm a one-man band here; in addition to all the research I am also the webmaster, editor, graphics artist, preparer of the newsletters, chief cook and bottle washer.  There are no advertisements on the site and no membership fees.  So, in the main, with the exception of a few donations now and again, the cost for the whole shooting match is coming out of my pocket.

Now, I think you owe me a donation for being argumentative – you'll find a link for PayPal at the bottom of the home page, and they are also available at the bottom of the newsletters

Best regards

Tony Gale
From: Peter Wraight, New York, NY
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:32 AM
Subject: Re: Valetta -vs- Varsity

Well now, Tony,

Only a Canuck or a Brit would have the cheek to ask for money in that way - the Americans having insufficient sense of irony - and only a loyal Brit would give it! Thus I have today sent you a small donation

Best regards


From: Ron Turley, Davao
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 10:06 PM
Subject: Update

Dear Tony,

Just to let you know that you need to update your map of locations of OBA members.

I have finally bought a set of golf rackets and have decided to retire after 10 years working for Chevron Phillips in Qatar. It has been a fantastic job which has seen us open 3 major petrochemical plants and go from zero people to nearly 3,000.

My involvement was, initially, the logistics operation and setting up a small port handling. Now, nearly 1M MT of containerised exports pa plus another 1M MT of speciality chemicals. Laterly, I became a sort of internal consultant and coach within the business.

I have retired to our home in the Philippines but am planning on setting up a small consultancy business based here.

Best wishes to all,

Ron Turley
That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!